Returning Home

It’s been a while since my last post here…but I have been busy. I returned from my trip to Maine on Wednesday and finally caught up with getting my laundry done. For some odd reason, the night I got home, I experienced a spark of motivation and started to type the recipes for the Orvis patterns that are beyond the 291 flies from the color plates in Mary Orvis Marbury’s 1892 Favorite Flies and Their Histories. I started by studying a couple hundred photos that I took at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont, both a year ago October, and this past June. Then I added the additional patterns that were published in Forgotten Flies,  1999, to the list. I am pleased to say that they are all done. And I also arranged all the 291 pattern recipes from the book in chronological order as well. I did this just since Wednesday evening, yesterday for a while, and again this morning until early afternoon.

Various folks along the last few months have been asking me, “How’s the book going?” And I’ve had to reply, that it’s been off more than on. I was not working on it so much over the summer. The book is presently titled, The Favorite Flies of Mary Orvis Marbury, has 24 contributing fly tiers, will feature all 291 of the flies from the color plates of her book, and will also include around 150 additional patterns, approximately 40 of which have never been published. I’m excited about it.

The trip was great overall. I taught a classic featherwing streamer class at L. L. Bean on September 21st. There were nine students in the class and we finished all six of the patterns on the list, even though we ran over by about thirty minutes. I had asked everyone ahead of time if they wanted to stay and finish the last fly, and everyone was in agreement. The final two flies were both Carrie Stevens patterns, the Greyhound and White Ghost. I instructed for the first time, the process of attaching the components of underbelly and underwing, and then layering the throat in a short space to the head where the wings are tied in as was her particular method of material placement and application. Everyone enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Friday evening was the Footer Special Event at Bean’s. After we had dinner at Gritty’s, we returned to Bean’s where David Footer, Maine artist, carver, taxidermist, was the guest of honor. He and his family were already there. His Footer Special fly was created fifty years ago. In early August I got the idea to solicit Footer Specials from different tiers, 29 rose to the call. David was completely surprised by the gift of the frame, and he really loved it. I have more to write about regarding that event, and also photos to post. I’ll share the details then.

My friends and I spent a week at Wilson Pond Camps near Greenville, Maine. We all got a cold so our fishing was not pursued as aggressively as we normally might. One nice thing was the water temperatures in Wilson Pond were cold enough that we caught trout and landlocked salmon from our float tubes right in front of our camp. I tied flies several nights in camp, and was the only member of the group to do so. It worked for me because I took fish on the patterns I tied. I also passed some out to my buddies.

Upon our return to my brother’s at New Gloucester, we planned to fish for stripers Sunday and Monday. We did this at Parson’s Beach with some success both days. By Tuesday afternoon my triceps were sore from casting the Loomis 8/9 Mega, double-hauling, and strip, strip, strip, strip. And playing some fish. I didn’t realize how much one uses that portion of your arm when casting. The fact it was windy had something to do with the extra casting effort. I have some really great photos of the time in the Moosehead Region, striper fishing, and a spectacular rainbow that we saw on Monday morning.

It’ll take me some time to get them ready to post, as the next item on my agenda is mowing that grass…since it didn’t have the decency to stop growing in my absence.

Coming up on my schedule are two shows, back-to-back weekends in November. First is the Arts of the Angler Show in Danbury, Connecticut, on November 10 and 11. I have never attended this Danbury show before, so I am looking forward to it. November 17 and 18 in Somerset, New Jersey, the International Fly Tying Symposium will be held in the Garden State Exhibit Center. I have been scheduled as a Featured Fly Tier and if I recall, I believe the time is Saturday morning at 10:30 AM. I’ll do some demo on wet flies, and I actually have some new stuff to share. New ways of winding hackles and ribbings, body materials, with both hands working together. I call it the two-handed wrap. No more navigating about your bobbin and thread as it hangs at the head of your hook. Faster and more efficient. One of the best things I have to share is a new and just about foolproof method of setting quill wings, it works especially well on wide sections of quill slips on large flies. The thread locks into position and does NOT slide along the top edge of the wings at all. I’m excited about these events.

Oh, one more thing…I volunteered to do something special at the Saturday evening banquet at the International Fly Tying Symposium…it’s a short presenation, less than three minutes. I’m not going to dish the goods, but I can say that I’ll tying one fly while singing a song, the goal being to finish the song and fly at the same time. I’ve been practicing. Hope everyone is well.

8 comments on “Returning Home

  1. emblock says:

    “Off more than on”….I hear you there! We had snow last night though, and the colder weather is helping focus. Glad you’re back, and it sounds like the brief holiday was grand!

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Erin;
      Yes, it can be an issue to get onself motivated to write…especially on a project of this scope. Since posting this Friday, I sequestered myself in the house and wrote all day yesterday and all day today, until now. We had colder weather too, no snow yet, but rain. Good to be inside. Making lots of progress…thanks for your comment!

  2. Bob Vincent says:

    Hi Don,

    Welcome home. Sounds like you have been a busy fellow. Thanks again for taking on the task of honoring David Footer. Glad you got some fishing time. Looking forward to some photos or videos of the techniques you mentioned above for all of us who are to far away to see them in person.

    Thanks again,


    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Bob;
      Thanks for your comment. The Footer event was really special. I had forgotten where my camera was, thought it at my brother’s with no way to get it, but it was in my car in the parklig lot at Bean’s the whole time. Dan Despres of New Brunswick, who came to both the class and the event has mailed me a CD with pics. Once I get them I’ll put them up. I also have more to write about just on the trip…thanks again!

      • Bob Hendry says:

        Hi Don,

        Did you ever get Dan’s photos posted?

        Bob Hendry

      • Don Bastian says:

        Hi Bob;
        I have not gotten them posted yet. Dan had sent them to me, but I never got them. Guess they got lost in the mail. then I got sick with the flare-up of Crohn’s Disease, and things fell by the wayside. I did receive, about a month ago, another CD from Dan with the photos from the David Footer event. I have been pretty busy with shows and classes, and in fact I am heading out this afternoon to Lansdale, PA, for a streamer class tomorrow. I wrote Dan and told him I hope to post the photos and write up of that event next week. Thanks for your comment and interest!

  3. Woolybugah says:

    Don, Plan to be at the show in Danbury. Look forward to touching base and seeing your demo.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi “bugah”
      It’ll be nice to see you there, but to clarify, I’m doing the demo the next week at the New Jersey show. But in essence, I’ll be demo-ing all day at the Danbury show anyway, just not in front of a camera. 😉
      Thanks and see you then!

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